Pastors pray for unity: Senekal unrest not about black and white - 'the enemy is Satan'

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  • Brendin Horner's death and the unrest that followed have sparked outrage across the country.
  • Pastors and local residents met at the Senekal showgrounds to pray for no further violence and racial tension. 
  • There is an expectation that things could escalate at Friday's court appearance of the Horner murder-accused. 

Brendin Horner's death, and the subsequent unrest at the Senekal Magistrate's Court, is not about race but criminality, and it should not be the reason for a civil war.

These were the sentiments of pastors and congregants, who gathered at the Senekal showgrounds on Wednesday afternoon to pray for unity.

Residents of the small town in the eastern Free State are afraid of what may transpire at the court on Friday when the two men accused of murdering the 21-year-old farm manager on a farm in Paul Roux are set to reappear.

READ | Brendin Horner - A young man who would go out of his way to help anyone in need

Their previous court appearance on 6 October ended in chaos as a small group of protesters stormed the court buildings in an attempt to get to the accused – Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa.

During the fracas, gunshots were fired, a police vehicle was overturned and allegedly set alight, and damage to court property was reported.

Andre Pienaar, a local resident of Senekal, has since been arrested for public violence and incitement to violence.

Horner's murder and the protest at the magistrate's court have sparked tensions throughout the country.

The EFF have announced their intentions to attend the next court appearance, while it is suspected that farmers will also be in attendance, leading to fears of a confrontation.

At the prayer meeting, Pastor Hendrik de Beer said the situation in Senekal was bad.

Senekal, Prayer meeting
Pastors at the Senekal showgrounds in the Free State praying for peace ahead of the court appearance of the two men accused of murdering Brendin Horner.

READ | Malema adamant EFF will be at Senekal court on Friday when Brendin Horner suspects appear again

"Everyone wants to go to war, everyone wants to fight. But why are we fighting? Who are we fighting?" De Beer asked.

He added the enemy was not white or black people, but the devil. To him, it is the devil that has been wreaking havoc on the community in the eastern Free State.

"We want to fight the enemy – Satan."

Pastor David Mngomezulu echoed similar sentiments and said the enemy was not black or white people, but it was Satan who has been actively sowing division in the community.

Senekal, prayer meeting
People at the Senekal showgrounds in the Free State praying for peace ahead of the court appearance of the two men accused of murdering Brendin Horner.
Senekal, Prayer meeting
People at the Senekal showgrounds in the Free State praying for peace ahead of the court appearance of the two men accused of murdering Brendin Horner.

Pastors also asked that congregants to pray against racial tension and said the issues currently confronted in the communities are not about race.

Pastor John Mathuhle told media that a civil war would not be allowed to start in Senekal.

He said many people in the communities are intimidated and concerned about their safety after recent events.

"The killing of Brendin brought up a lot of emotions," Mathuhle said.

"We don't condone what happened on Tuesday, but this should not, and is not about race," he added.

A congregant, who attended the prayer meeting, told News24 that Horner's death and the subsequent chaos at the court had nothing to do with racism, but was just blatant criminality.

It is this criminality that should be tackled, he said.

Senekal, Prayer meeting
People at the Senekal showgrounds in the Free State praying for peace ahead of the court appearance of the two men accused of murdering Brendin Horner.

Several other who joined in prayer had similar feelings. They believed the events have caused division, which sparked tensions.

A man, who identified himself as Chris, said he hoped the power of pray would stop any sort of violence on Friday.

He said people, who believe the fight is about black versus white, are blind.

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